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Adaptation of Ernest Hemmingway's Hills Like White Elephants

2 pages
548 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
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The short story set in a train station in Spain features an American man and a female character that the author identifies as a girl. The two are taking beer at a bar in the hilly town located somewhere between Barcelona and Madrid. Apparently, the two are waiting for a train en route Madrid where they have to procure an illegal abortion. The girl fells that the abortion will restore her lovers attraction towards her, while the American man feels that the woman may not be willing to undergo the operation. The short story is an ideal piece for film adaptation given its setting, themes, and paucity of characters. Changing this single track piece to five track film will involve several things which include setting the stage, choosing the nature of the characters, and reflecting the authors original idea in the short fictional story.

Adapting this story will first entail giving life to the fictional characters. According o the story, the man is an American who understands Spanish, while the girl is not conversant with this language. The two protagonists appear to have a wide age gap, with the girl presumably in her early twenties while the man is in his mid-thirties. Therefore, the characters must reflect the authors imagery in the story. The second thing to do in the adaptation of this story is recreating the setting. Using a natural setting akin to the one illustrated by the author is the best way to adapt this story, although logistical challenges may call for computer-assisted simulation of the setting. The stage must include a train station with a bar where many passengers are waiting to board the express to Madrid. The station must also be located at a hilly surrounding where the hills resemble white elephants. There must be a river that flows nearby and trees that partially obscure the hills. The woman and the man should also appear to hold a hearty conversation that turns to an argument at times.

Lighting for this film adaptation will depend on the setting. If real geographical settings are to be used, then natural lighting would be preferred. However, due to the limitation of carrying the exercise outdoors, then artificial lighting that resembles sunlight in ambience and intensity will be applied. Incorporating sound in the film is another important task that this adaptation involves. The chatter of drunk men and women in the bar waiting for Madrid-bound train will be included to bring the setting to life and create resemblance with the ideas in the story. The protagonist characters will also have human voice in their interlocution. The mise-en-scene in the film must be included for successful adaptation of the short story. Stage props necessary for this activity are a mock train station, a bar with bamboo beads hanging on the door, a Spanish speaking bar maid nicknamed Listen, and beer. The beer brand in this film would mimic the ones in the short story. Additionally, the protagonist must take all the beers up to the point at which the train arrives in the station. Although adapting a text for film making is a case of apples and oranges, this exercise will be designed to bring the highest degree of resemblance between the two artistic forms by employing the right techniques.

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